Tuesday, January 29, 2008

That's It. I'm Becoming Amish.

180pxluddite


Engraving of the Leader of the Luddites that I pulled off Wikipedia, which according to them was published in May 1812 by Mess, Walker and Knight.


There are times I'm quite the Luddite. Like now, after spending an hour and a half on the phone with my HP tech support guru Rupender in New Delhi to get my printer up and running. It involved a lot of questions from him like "Do you like music a lot?" and "Do you like cooking?" in the awkward silences of his working on my computer remotely or me fishing for the CD rom that came with my machine. I also taught him "Te amo," Spanish for "I love you," for him to share with his girlfriend. (Long story that started with the cooking question.) So, that's how our conversation ended--me reminding him of how to say it which to an innocent bystander would sound like I was telling my Indian tech support person that I love him. Not that I wasn't grateful--it's up and running again...


...Or, maybe it isn't. I just tried printing something out and it said it was out of paper again. I am a little bit on the paranoid, conspiracy theory side when it comes to technology. My warranty is up on Feb. 3. It's amazing to me how things go wrong riiiiiigggghhht after the warranty's up. That's what happened with my last laptop. Then, I followed the directions that the email support gave me, and THEN it said it was out of ink--not before. Before, it said paper. And, when I called, Ru, as I'm going to call him, gave me an offer I couldn't refuse--a set of ink & paper for $35. How conveeeeeeeeeenient.


All this makes me want to just stick my head in the sand and use a number 2 pencil. But then I couldn't blog, could I?

That's It. I'm Becoming Amish.

180pxluddite


Engraving of the Leader of the Luddites that I pulled off Wikipedia, which according to them was published in May 1812 by Mess, Walker and Knight.


There are times I'm quite the Luddite. Like now, after spending an hour and a half on the phone with my HP tech support guru Rupender in New Delhi to get my printer up and running. It involved a lot of questions from him like "Do you like music a lot?" and "Do you like cooking?" in the awkward silences of his working on my computer remotely or me fishing for the CD rom that came with my machine. I also taught him "Te amo," Spanish for "I love you," for him to share with his girlfriend. (Long story that started with the cooking question.) So, that's how our conversation ended--me reminding him of how to say it which to an innocent bystander would sound like I was telling my Indian tech support person that I love him. Not that I wasn't grateful--it's up and running again...


...Or, maybe it isn't. I just tried printing something out and it said it was out of paper again. I am a little bit on the paranoid, conspiracy theory side when it comes to technology. My warranty is up on Feb. 3. It's amazing to me how things go wrong riiiiiigggghhht after the warranty's up. That's what happened with my last laptop. Then, I followed the directions that the email support gave me, and THEN it said it was out of ink--not before. Before, it said paper. And, when I called, Ru, as I'm going to call him, gave me an offer I couldn't refuse--a set of ink & paper for $35. How conveeeeeeeeeenient.


All this makes me want to just stick my head in the sand and use a number 2 pencil. But then I couldn't blog, could I?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Nightstand Finale

I put the final coat of Polycrylic on the nightstand last night. The place on the drawer that I thought I may have messed up looked okay. I did add a little more of the poly to it. Being the perfectionist that I am, this morning, I noticed a wee bit of lint that must have settled into the top. In my zeal, I attempted to "fix" it and long story short, ended up with a tiny scratch. Let that be a lesson to let things be--they can get worse! I managed to put a little extra stain on it, and I think it looks okay, though I could've spit I was so angry at myself this morning. Well, without further ado, here's the final product:



Nightstandfinale_2


It's not quite as shiny as it appears here. I'm happy with it, and I can't wait until I can put it in place and start enjoying it!

I need a weekend from this weekend!

Well, folks, I'm tired. The good news? My nightstand project is over. The bad news? I started more cleaning-out projects that were pretty exhausting. And, I wish I could say I'm curling up to relax in a completely organized apartment, but that is SO not the case. As I write this, I'm looking around my lividining room to a bunch of Rubbermaid bins and miscellaneous stuff that is either slated to go to Goodwill or needs to be put somewhere.


I was blessed with many closets in this place (4, actually--deep living room closet, coat closet, linen closet, and clothes closet). The problem is that now that I've been here over 2 years, stuff is starting to pile up inside those closets. Not that I haven't cleaned out before, but things just tend to come into your life. Admitting you have a problem is the first step:


Alcohol


Okay, I don't have an alcohol problem (though, it is taking up valuable space!). I have a box problem:


Boxes 


This is a stack of boxes I finally disposed of. I don't know why, but I tend to let them pile up. A key problem is that my living room closet is kind of an open cave, so I just throw things like boxes in there to get them out of the way. 


P1270079I plan to put up some shelves to enhance my storage capabilities. I'd like to move the things I have teetering on top of my coat closet--like files, supplies, and board games--into this closet. That should help me avoid the box problem (though, it pains me to admit, I STILL have the box to my printer, computer, and stereo).


I took a big trash bag full of blankets and towels and two packages of tennis balls for the doggies to play with to the DC Animal Shelter. I haven't touched the tennis balls in 2 years, and I probably won't be playing tennis any time soon. (Hence, also why the racket is now in my Goodwill pile).


In the midst of this sorting, the wire organizer I had inside my coat closet collapsed, sending an avalanche of stuff hurtling out of the closet. And, I wasn't even dealing with that closet today!


So, things are a bit chaotic now. I doubt I'll make any more progress tonight. But, after next weekend, I'm hoping there will at least be a sense of order about it.

I need a weekend from this weekend!

Well, folks, I'm tired. The good news? My nightstand project is over. The bad news? I started more cleaning-out projects that were pretty exhausting. And, I wish I could say I'm curling up to relax in a completely organized apartment, but that is SO not the case. As I write this, I'm looking around my lividining room to a bunch of Rubbermaid bins and miscellaneous stuff that is either slated to go to Goodwill or needs to be put somewhere.


I was blessed with many closets in this place (4, actually--deep living room closet, coat closet, linen closet, and clothes closet). The problem is that now that I've been here over 2 years, stuff is starting to pile up inside those closets. Not that I haven't cleaned out before, but things just tend to come into your life. Admitting you have a problem is the first step:


Alcohol


Okay, I don't have an alcohol problem (though, it is taking up valuable space!). I have a box problem:


Boxes 


This is a stack of boxes I finally disposed of. I don't know why, but I tend to let them pile up. A key problem is that my living room closet is kind of an open cave, so I just throw things like boxes in there to get them out of the way. 


P1270079I plan to put up some shelves to enhance my storage capabilities. I'd like to move the things I have teetering on top of my coat closet--like files, supplies, and board games--into this closet. That should help me avoid the box problem (though, it pains me to admit, I STILL have the box to my printer, computer, and stereo).


I took a big trash bag full of blankets and towels and two packages of tennis balls for the doggies to play with to the DC Animal Shelter. I haven't touched the tennis balls in 2 years, and I probably won't be playing tennis any time soon. (Hence, also why the racket is now in my Goodwill pile).


In the midst of this sorting, the wire organizer I had inside my coat closet collapsed, sending an avalanche of stuff hurtling out of the closet. And, I wasn't even dealing with that closet today!


So, things are a bit chaotic now. I doubt I'll make any more progress tonight. But, after next weekend, I'm hoping there will at least be a sense of order about it.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Home Stretch

Well, 2 coats of Polycrylic later, and my nightstand is drying. The topcoat part is the most nervewracking, I think. Stain is forgiving. Topcoat, not as much. It's more like painting--with brush marks being the main scary thing. Oh, and bubbles. I had an issue with this. I noticed this especially on the drawer. I tried to remedy it and ended up mussing up the finish...so it will take some sanding and reapplying of the poly to fix that up tomorrow.


CQ in DC's refinish over at Apartment Therapy is reaaaalllly awesome--and a great tip on a product for the future...hint, it doesn't take any stripping! This is the after...I wish I'd nabbed these on Craigslist!


124dcafter1_2

Nightstand Newsflash!

Today was/is STAIN DAY for the nightstand. I'll tell you, staining is much more gratifying than stripping. As of now, all the stain's on. All that's left is putting on the polycrylic.


Before2


I used my "old" nightstand as a stand to stain the "new" stand. How many times can one person use stand in a sentence?! This allowed me to access it more easily and to get the sides the whole way to the bottom. It was the closest I could get to a workbench.


Materials


Here are my materials. Plastic dropcloth (warning--if you use canvas, it will seep through, so put something under it), Pre-Stain, Stain (Mine is water-based Minwax Onyx), Polycrylic, painters rags, foam brushes, staining pads, & vinyl gloves.


Before_4


One last look at my unstained, hard-earned stripped and sanded nightstand!


Staining is very easy. The process, in a nutshell, goes like this: sand the piece down and wipe off the sand dust. Put on the pre-stain with a rag. This is not as critical with a hardwood previously-stained piece like mine, but with, say, a pine piece from Ikea, it's CRITICAL. That old nightstand was my first experience with stain (that I bought at Ikea and never read any instructions on how to actually stain something) and I was shocked at how it just absorbed right in. After letting it sit for about 30 minutes, sand and wipe off the dust.


Now, you can apply the stain!


I use water-based stain and finish because it's lower-fume and you can clean up with soap and water. You really CAN, too, that's not just b.s. I had stain all over my arms, and it came right off. Some people don't like it, but it's all I've ever used, so I don't know any different. Seems just fine to me.


I tried staining pads for the first coat, but I wasn't thrilled with that result. You can use staining pads, lint-free rags, foam brushes, or bristle brushes to apply stain. I like foam brushes, because you can dab on stain in little corners and it's not quite as messy. Be sure to smooth out any bubbles and go completely to the edge for an even, complete coverage. Go thin and with the grain. After covering a small area (in my case, one side of the stand), and letting it sit for a few minutes (no more than about 3), wipe it off with a lint-free cloth dampened with stain, wiping with the grain. Repeat for each surface. I let mine dry about an hour between coats--the directions say 2. When you're done staining, let it dry 3+ hours before applying the protective topcoat (Polycrylic). Sand the topcoat lightly with fine grain sandpaper, wipe off the dust, and reapply the topcoat.


Here's the progress:


1coat


Coat 1: I was a little concerned that the coverage wasn't working--it seemed uneven and splotchy, especially in the places where the veneer came off.


2coats


2 coats: looking better!


4thandfinal


After 4 coats: Finally the level of coverage I wanted!


I'll be sure to post the FINAL photo tomorrow!

Commuter Sentences: This Week in Transit

Metro_2It was an eventful week on WMATA. Lots of delays, but of course, that's not what's most interesting about commuting.


I have started a new game on the Metro to pass the time. I call it "Gay or Married." It's pretty simple. I look at a guy and try to decide whether he's gay or married, because as most single ladies in DC know, it's quite certain he's one or the other. The only hitch to this is that you don't ever REALLY know the right answer. Still, it's something to do other than read the advertisements.  I stick with white men between the ages of 25 and 40. White because black men are much harder to distinguish, and let's face it, as Ice T told us on SVU, many of them could be "on the down low." 25 to 40 because that's the age group I'm most interested in. I also skip any obvious tourists.


Tuesday evening on the D6, there was an altercation between the driver and a handicapped man. To be honest, I don't exactly know what the issue was. What I could gather was that he wanted people to give up their seats and maybe someone wouldn't? When I got there, the space for his chair was clear, but he was rattling on and on about something and pointing at the sign screaming "Federal Law," and the driver was saying "Sir, my number is" blah blah "Call Metro if you have a problem." At any rate, I was relieved--because of their argument, I was able to catch the bus from the metro at Union Station. Oh, and bonus: not only was I able to reach the bus in time, but it was free because the SmarTrip thingy was broken! Woo hoo. I'll try not to spend that 35 cents all in one place.


Thursday morning, I encountered the "huggy couple" on the metro. I've seen them more than once. They started off separately on either side of the door and then the woman goes in and leans against him--front to front--for the remainder of the trip. The first time I saw this, I thought perhaps someone had died and she was crying. No, just very comfortable with PDA.


I did a lot of walking this week--mainly because of getting up late or coming home late and not wanting to wait...patience: not a personal strength.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Cheap & Easy Organization Project

Unlike trips to the Container Store or ideas for "simplifying" found in Martha Stewart Living or Real Simple, I have a good idea that's fairly simple. Though not as cheap as my binder clip filing system, it's very easy and makes a big difference.


This idea is great for organizing your necklaces. I was forever trying to neatly store my necklaces, either in my jewelry box or in other containers, to no avail. Finally, I decided to put up hooks on the back of my closet door. Here is the result:


P1240053_2


The hooks are 3M Mini Hooks with Command Adhesive (Available online at Amazon for $2.22/6). {As an aside, if you've never used Command Adhesive, you're missing out on one of the manmade wonders of the world. You can easily remove them without wall damage. I have used the velcro version and poster version for holding up various items such as power strips, cable modems, etc etc...}


P1240055_2No closet door? Use a wall or the side of a dresser (that's the beauty of Command Adhesive!) Here's a close up of the hook. The fabric behind the necklaces was an afterthought, mainly to prevent the BANG BANG BANG of the necklaces when I opened and closed the door. I put a piece of batting underneath the fabric, too. As it turned out, it adds a little something.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Secrets of the Clutter-Free

I have always envied those pictures of perfect houses with not a pile of papers or dirty dish in sight. Do they exist? I'm realizing more and more that even if that isn't achievable, in order to have an easier time keeping the place neat and clean, you have to be ruthless. Especially when you live in a small space.


Most people who know me wouldn't consider me to have a clutter problem. Most people who know me would also say I'm good at organization and that I organize often. Catching on? I spend a LOT of time maintaining my stuff and the order of my stuff. I don't have serious issues with clutter, especially with the obvious ones that are problems for most people like mail and magazines. Occasionally, they'll pile up, but I keep that stuff mostly under control.


For me, the big culprits are all those extra things I don't use regularly and things I KNOW I don't need but hold on to either a.) "just in case" or b.) because it has some emotional attachment of some sort. Sometimes that emotional attachment can just be longevity. Having something for a long time can create pseudo emotional attachments.


I'm trying to start a ruthless but gradual process of elminating all that hiding clutter so that I can spend less time organizing and more time enjoying my space (admittedly, I enjoy it or I wouldn't do it so much, but enjoying in non-organizing ways). I am trying to do a little at a time so that I can really think through and complete each category.


PrincessandpeaI started with the linen closet and linens, which I also had stored under my bed and in a chest near my bed. I don't know why, but I tend to keep linens that aren't necessary. I guess because they are simultaneously comforting and practical--it's hard to say they're useless. That being said, I have enough blankets to house a large family of refugees. I keep many of these "for guests," but seriously, who visits? Aside from my mom, exactly 5 people have stayed at my house in the over 2 1/2 years here: Aunt Ginny, Leigh, Philip, Dad, and Ted. 4 of the 5 are relatives, 3 of which would be able to bring blankets if need be. Ted, the outlyer, normally wouldn't have been staying here seeing as he lives 5 blocks from me, if it weren't for his flooded apartment. And, honestly, I have enough to give each of the 5 a blanket ALL AT THE SAME TIME. So, as you see, the massive quantity of blankets is simply not necessary. The pile at left is only the linens I've either decided to give away or that I *may* give away. Princess & the Pea comes to mind.


I'm making some progress--here's the one presentable shelf so far:


P1220051


Of course, living in a small apartment, my linen closet is not just for linens, so the next stage will be dealing with that other stuff!

Secrets of the Clutter-Free

I have always envied those pictures of perfect houses with not a pile of papers or dirty dish in sight. Do they exist? I'm realizing more and more that even if that isn't achievable, in order to have an easier time keeping the place neat and clean, you have to be ruthless. Especially when you live in a small space.


Most people who know me wouldn't consider me to have a clutter problem. Most people who know me would also say I'm good at organization and that I organize often. Catching on? I spend a LOT of time maintaining my stuff and the order of my stuff. I don't have serious issues with clutter, especially with the obvious ones that are problems for most people like mail and magazines. Occasionally, they'll pile up, but I keep that stuff mostly under control.


For me, the big culprits are all those extra things I don't use regularly and things I KNOW I don't need but hold on to either a.) "just in case" or b.) because it has some emotional attachment of some sort. Sometimes that emotional attachment can just be longevity. Having something for a long time can create pseudo emotional attachments.


I'm trying to start a ruthless but gradual process of elminating all that hiding clutter so that I can spend less time organizing and more time enjoying my space (admittedly, I enjoy it or I wouldn't do it so much, but enjoying in non-organizing ways). I am trying to do a little at a time so that I can really think through and complete each category.


PrincessandpeaI started with the linen closet and linens, which I also had stored under my bed and in a chest near my bed. I don't know why, but I tend to keep linens that aren't necessary. I guess because they are simultaneously comforting and practical--it's hard to say they're useless. That being said, I have enough blankets to house a large family of refugees. I keep many of these "for guests," but seriously, who visits? Aside from my mom, exactly 5 people have stayed at my house in the over 2 1/2 years here: Aunt Ginny, Leigh, Philip, Dad, and Ted. 4 of the 5 are relatives, 3 of which would be able to bring blankets if need be. Ted, the outlyer, normally wouldn't have been staying here seeing as he lives 5 blocks from me, if it weren't for his flooded apartment. And, honestly, I have enough to give each of the 5 a blanket ALL AT THE SAME TIME. So, as you see, the massive quantity of blankets is simply not necessary. The pile at left is only the linens I've either decided to give away or that I *may* give away. Princess & the Pea comes to mind.


I'm making some progress--here's the one presentable shelf so far:


P1220051


Of course, living in a small apartment, my linen closet is not just for linens, so the next stage will be dealing with that other stuff!

MLK Day, 2 Days Later

This is a few days late...but then again, it's not like I had Monday off or anything. I think it's good to take a moment to commemorate the memory of a truly remarkable man. And, really, it's not just his memory that is commemorated, but all those who worked with him to change the way America treated its citizens. I don't claim to be an expert on Civil Rights, but I think that's just the point--so much of the recent history of America has been shoved under the rug by the "establishment," not to sound too much like a 60s radical (or for that matter, suburban, rich kid skater).


79kinggrave_2 I went to Atlanta when I was working on their Downtown plan in 2003. One part of this was for the Sweet Auburn district--a historically black business area, for, you know, when they weren't allowed to eat in white restaurants. It is also the area where King was born and is now buried. He preached at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, and another church--Big Bethel AME--was a center of the Civil Rights movement. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was headquartered there. Auburn Avenue is the location of the King Center, which commemorates King's life and is the location of his tomb.


I learned all of this during the project. I admitted to a prominent black community leader who had been active during the Civil Rights movement that I didn't even know King was born or buried in Atlanta . Embarrassing. Shameful, really.


Civilrightsmuseum_3


I learned a lot more during my more recent trip to Memphis. I visited the Civil Rights Museum, which is located at the former hotel where King was shot.


The museum's many issues aside (lots to read, ending was a bit odd), we were glad we went. It really drove home the sacrifices people made to strive for equality. It made me question my own role in effecting change. I really admire King, and not just King, but everyone who put Civil Rights ahead of the safety of themselves and their families. We all owe them a lot. Though I don't think I could ever be that brave, I hope that I can at least stand up for what I believe and know is right and just whenever I can.

MLK Day, 2 Days Later

This is a few days late...but then again, it's not like I had Monday off or anything. I think it's good to take a moment to commemorate the memory of a truly remarkable man. And, really, it's not just his memory that is commemorated, but all those who worked with him to change the way America treated its citizens. I don't claim to be an expert on Civil Rights, but I think that's just the point--so much of the recent history of America has been shoved under the rug by the "establishment," not to sound too much like a 60s radical (or for that matter, suburban, rich kid skater).


79kinggrave_2 I went to Atlanta when I was working on their Downtown plan in 2003. One part of this was for the Sweet Auburn district--a historically black business area, for, you know, when they weren't allowed to eat in white restaurants. It is also the area where King was born and is now buried. He preached at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, and another church--Big Bethel AME--was a center of the Civil Rights movement. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was headquartered there. Auburn Avenue is the location of the King Center, which commemorates King's life and is the location of his tomb.


I learned all of this during the project. I admitted to a prominent black community leader who had been active during the Civil Rights movement that I didn't even know King was born or buried in Atlanta . Embarrassing. Shameful, really.


Civilrightsmuseum_3


I learned a lot more during my more recent trip to Memphis. I visited the Civil Rights Museum, which is located at the former hotel where King was shot.


The museum's many issues aside (lots to read, ending was a bit odd), we were glad we went. It really drove home the sacrifices people made to strive for equality. It made me question my own role in effecting change. I really admire King, and not just King, but everyone who put Civil Rights ahead of the safety of themselves and their families. We all owe them a lot. Though I don't think I could ever be that brave, I hope that I can at least stand up for what I believe and know is right and just whenever I can.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Nightstand Nightmare Continues

Sander_3I think it's safe to say that I will not be stripping furniture anytime soon. I had previously bought a wash to try to get off the remainder of the stripper. It didn't seem to work. On Friday, I stopped quickly at Home Depot to purchase a power sander. I decided THIS was the answer to my nightstand prayers.


Let me start off by saying that a power sander is not something to be used in an apartment. I couldn't resist--I am THAT desperate to get this project done. I wanted this project to be a part of the Apartment Therapy "January Jumpstart" contest, but alas, that will not be the case.


Facemask_2This is a classic case of my impatience getting the better of me. If I had thought through the project from the beginning, at least I would have been more prepared and allowed sufficient time. As it stands, this has been ongoing since early December. This Saturday was no exception. I realized as I read the sander directions that I didn't have a face mask. Instead of going out and buying one, I made one out of an old sock, binder clips, and a rubber band. NOT NIOSH approved.


I sanded and I sanded. It was quite the project. As it turns out, sanding creates a LOT of dust--imagine that. So, I needed a face mask. I won't go into details, but my nose revealled that my sock didn't do quite what an actual face mask would. In addition to my nose, it also covered my entire bedroom. Witness these pictures:


Dust


Soooo....my entire bedroom was covered with red dust that I needed to clean. I spent more time on Saturday cleaning up after sanding than I did in the sanding itself. I vacuumed and washed the walls and floors down. I changed the Murphy's Oil Soap water about five times. The optimist take on this is that at least I won't have to do spring cleaning!


At least now, I have a surface that I can go about staining. I did have some surprises. For example, I found out certain parts were made of veneer and not solid mahogany when I sanded away most of the veneer. I found that other parts were plywood, while still others were some other kind of wood (for the detail parts). See the progression in pictures below--from the thrift store find (which, right now, ain't lookin' so bad), the stripper, partially stripped wood, the partially stripped nightstand with materials sitting for weeks, and finally the sanded piece.


Nightstand1_5




I thought I could also stain, but that is going to have to wait until next weekend. If you are going to strip furniture, here are some tips:


  • Find a professional (this is what I'd do!)

  • If you can, make it an outdoor job.

  • You'll need: gloves, stripper, a brush to apply the stripper, rags, a scraper and perhaps a wire or nylon brush, a scrubber/steel wool and sandpaper, and either the wash that the stripper company makes or water in a spray bottle. Also: safety first--buy safety goggles and a face mask.

  • The company that made my stripper (Ready Strip) makes a fast-acting stripper. I'd try that. The one I used takes up to 24 hours to cure. They also make a "pro" version--stronger, but still takes time to cure.

  • Plan for how much stripper you'll need.

  • Only start if you can strip it when it's ready. And, plan to spend time stripping and scrubbing the remainder off. I let mine dry too long and it made it difficult to get off.

  • If you do get a power sander, do make sure it has dust removal. Mine did, and I can only imagine how much dust there would have been without it. Again, NOT an indoor job!

I think I've made my disdain for this whole thing pretty clear. I cannot wait to have my nightstand finished!!!

The Nightstand Nightmare Continues

Sander_3I think it's safe to say that I will not be stripping furniture anytime soon. I had previously bought a wash to try to get off the remainder of the stripper. It didn't seem to work. On Friday, I stopped quickly at Home Depot to purchase a power sander. I decided THIS was the answer to my nightstand prayers.


Let me start off by saying that a power sander is not something to be used in an apartment. I couldn't resist--I am THAT desperate to get this project done. I wanted this project to be a part of the Apartment Therapy "January Jumpstart" contest, but alas, that will not be the case.


Facemask_2This is a classic case of my impatience getting the better of me. If I had thought through the project from the beginning, at least I would have been more prepared and allowed sufficient time. As it stands, this has been ongoing since early December. This Saturday was no exception. I realized as I read the sander directions that I didn't have a face mask. Instead of going out and buying one, I made one out of an old sock, binder clips, and a rubber band. NOT NIOSH approved.


I sanded and I sanded. It was quite the project. As it turns out, sanding creates a LOT of dust--imagine that. So, I needed a face mask. I won't go into details, but my nose revealled that my sock didn't do quite what an actual face mask would. In addition to my nose, it also covered my entire bedroom. Witness these pictures:


Dust


Soooo....my entire bedroom was covered with red dust that I needed to clean. I spent more time on Saturday cleaning up after sanding than I did in the sanding itself. I vacuumed and washed the walls and floors down. I changed the Murphy's Oil Soap water about five times. The optimist take on this is that at least I won't have to do spring cleaning!


At least now, I have a surface that I can go about staining. I did have some surprises. For example, I found out certain parts were made of veneer and not solid mahogany when I sanded away most of the veneer. I found that other parts were plywood, while still others were some other kind of wood (for the detail parts). See the progression in pictures below--from the thrift store find (which, right now, ain't lookin' so bad), the stripper, partially stripped wood, the partially stripped nightstand with materials sitting for weeks, and finally the sanded piece.


Nightstand1_5




I thought I could also stain, but that is going to have to wait until next weekend. If you are going to strip furniture, here are some tips:


  • Find a professional (this is what I'd do!)

  • If you can, make it an outdoor job.

  • You'll need: gloves, stripper, a brush to apply the stripper, rags, a scraper and perhaps a wire or nylon brush, a scrubber/steel wool and sandpaper, and either the wash that the stripper company makes or water in a spray bottle. Also: safety first--buy safety goggles and a face mask.

  • The company that made my stripper (Ready Strip) makes a fast-acting stripper. I'd try that. The one I used takes up to 24 hours to cure. They also make a "pro" version--stronger, but still takes time to cure.

  • Plan for how much stripper you'll need.

  • Only start if you can strip it when it's ready. And, plan to spend time stripping and scrubbing the remainder off. I let mine dry too long and it made it difficult to get off.

  • If you do get a power sander, do make sure it has dust removal. Mine did, and I can only imagine how much dust there would have been without it. Again, NOT an indoor job!

I think I've made my disdain for this whole thing pretty clear. I cannot wait to have my nightstand finished!!!

Life in Steerage

Ealsuperconnieinterior


Picture from http://www.airfarewatchdog.com of an Eastern Airlines Super Constellation. As you can see, NOT a recent photo!


I had a work trip on Thursday. Though the flight was only 2 hours, it seemed interminable. First, it took off an hour late. Second, the flight was packed, and I had what was quite possibly the worst seat: 25d, the last seat in the plane, adjacent to the rest room. I swear every person on the plane used the rest room...twice. Each time, I got a nice whiff of lovely rest room odor. I wanted to tell them to get their prostates checked, going that much on a 2-hour flight. I may have if half of them weren't female. Third, the seat was small and my butt was large. I don't think I've ever been so uncomfortable in an airline seat. For a second, I thought "I don't think I'm going to fit. I had a French chap beside me. I gingerly told him that I was trying to keep my butt as compact as possible. It was insane. Every time he pushed down on the armrest, because he was also clearly uncomfortable, it drove into my thigh...excruciating. Fortunately, on the way back, I had an empty seat beside me, so I could lift the arm rest and give myself more room.  When I got to my destination, it was not over. I had to wait through two shuttle buses to get to the rental car center and then had an hour drive. I was home not a minute too soon on Friday!

Life in Steerage

Ealsuperconnieinterior


Picture from http://www.airfarewatchdog.com of an Eastern Airlines Super Constellation. As you can see, NOT a recent photo!


I had a work trip on Thursday. Though the flight was only 2 hours, it seemed interminable. First, it took off an hour late. Second, the flight was packed, and I had what was quite possibly the worst seat: 25d, the last seat in the plane, adjacent to the rest room. I swear every person on the plane used the rest room...twice. Each time, I got a nice whiff of lovely rest room odor. I wanted to tell them to get their prostates checked, going that much on a 2-hour flight. I may have if half of them weren't female. Third, the seat was small and my butt was large. I don't think I've ever been so uncomfortable in an airline seat. For a second, I thought "I don't think I'm going to fit. I had a French chap beside me. I gingerly told him that I was trying to keep my butt as compact as possible. It was insane. Every time he pushed down on the armrest, because he was also clearly uncomfortable, it drove into my thigh...excruciating. Fortunately, on the way back, I had an empty seat beside me, so I could lift the arm rest and give myself more room.  When I got to my destination, it was not over. I had to wait through two shuttle buses to get to the rental car center and then had an hour drive. I was home not a minute too soon on Friday!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thank You, Our Lady of the Curbside Find

This almost made up for working all day (yes, you heard me right, on a Sunday, with some left to do tonight) and yesterday (as in Saturday). I was driving up my street and found TWO of these outside of a townhouse:


Frames


I don't know what I'm going to do with these exquisitely ornate beauties. It's my experience that when something is sitting curbside, you grab now, think later. The possibilities are endless--leave as-is and hang; frame some fabric; make a bulletin board; paint...I know God was listening to my needs for something exciting at church this morning! I thought my doughnuts at Starbucks were it, but NO! The Lord works in mysterious ways!  I literally swerved over beside a hydrant when I saw these and ran in front of a woman with a poodle to grab them. I bet the person who put them there saw me because their drapes were open. I hope my excitement gave him/her pleasure.


This makes me think of all the other things I've grabbed over the years. The Ikea drawers that I got one night after drinking all day during the DC fall scavenger hunt (Thanks, Erin, again, for putting it in your car). The loveseat that I nabbed at Penn by sitting on it until Angie could come and help me carry it inside (Thanks, Angie.). There were others, but those are the highlights. Forunately, these I could carry myself!


Anyone reading--what's your best find, if you have one? Also, if you have neat ideas for 2 wonderful free frames, I'd love to hear them!

Thank You, Our Lady of the Curbside Find

This almost made up for working all day (yes, you heard me right, on a Sunday, with some left to do tonight) and yesterday (as in Saturday). I was driving up my street and found TWO of these outside of a townhouse:


Frames


I don't know what I'm going to do with these exquisitely ornate beauties. It's my experience that when something is sitting curbside, you grab now, think later. The possibilities are endless--leave as-is and hang; frame some fabric; make a bulletin board; paint...I know God was listening to my needs for something exciting at church this morning! I thought my doughnuts at Starbucks were it, but NO! The Lord works in mysterious ways!  I literally swerved over beside a hydrant when I saw these and ran in front of a woman with a poodle to grab them. I bet the person who put them there saw me because their drapes were open. I hope my excitement gave him/her pleasure.


This makes me think of all the other things I've grabbed over the years. The Ikea drawers that I got one night after drinking all day during the DC fall scavenger hunt (Thanks, Erin, again, for putting it in your car). The loveseat that I nabbed at Penn by sitting on it until Angie could come and help me carry it inside (Thanks, Angie.). There were others, but those are the highlights. Forunately, these I could carry myself!


Anyone reading--what's your best find, if you have one? Also, if you have neat ideas for 2 wonderful free frames, I'd love to hear them!

Monday, January 7, 2008

A Little Drape Will Do You

I received my new bedroom drapes today. They were a welcome addition now that I've put away all the festive Christmas decor. I was so happy to see the hot pink go (I think you can say I got the $20 worth out of them over the last 5 years). Little by little, I'm transforming my bedroom, and I feel as if it's become more "grown up" and less college-y.  Here's one window before:



Drapesold_2


And, here's the same window after:


Newdrapes_3   


There, of course, had to be at least one blip in my hanging of the drapes. I didn't get enough hang rings, so a few leftover Ikea ones I had will have to pinch hit until I can get more!


Hooks

A Little Drape Will Do You

I received my new bedroom drapes today. They were a welcome addition now that I've put away all the festive Christmas decor. I was so happy to see the hot pink go (I think you can say I got the $20 worth out of them over the last 5 years). Little by little, I'm transforming my bedroom, and I feel as if it's become more "grown up" and less college-y.  Here's one window before:



Drapesold_2


And, here's the same window after:


Newdrapes_3   


There, of course, had to be at least one blip in my hanging of the drapes. I didn't get enough hang rings, so a few leftover Ikea ones I had will have to pinch hit until I can get more!


Hooks

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas...

there was a party at my house! I threw a Twelfth Day Tea on Sunday. I maxed out the available space in my apartment with the 15 guests who came (though, I guess one was tiny and didn't take up much space!). It was great to meet Jacob's daughter finally! Adorable!



Jacobandcharlotte_4 Unfortunately, as she does not yet have teeth, little Charlotte couldn't help us eat the bounty of food we had. I made two savory dishes with Pilsbury Crescents--reuben crescent wraps (I believe the original name for them was "Crusty Reuben Bites.") and the same thing as a veggie version with Roasted Red Peppers, Goat Cheese, and Fontina Cheese.


I went a little baked good crazy the day before. I made some great molasses cookies (from Cooking Light--see here for the recipe), pizzelles, sugar cutout cookies, and scones (from a mix) while watching the Steelers devastating loss to Jacksonville. Everyone had sweets on the brain, because we had SO many baked goods that people brought, all DEEEElicious.


Table


Believe it or not, this table is AFTER most people have eaten!


P1060005_5 It was great to have everyone over for one last hurrah, especially before taking down the Christmas decorations. I was thinking maybe next time (because I want there to be a next time) I may do an open house, because while I LOVE having all my friends over, I could fit even more if they were spaced out. Maybe I should give timed tickets, like a museum! LOL.


The Christmas decorations are now down, and my apartment's feeling empty and non-festive. Fortunately, I have a lot of "projects" planned to keep my mind off of it! Here's one last wreath...


Wreath


 

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas...

there was a party at my house! I threw a Twelfth Day Tea on Sunday. I maxed out the available space in my apartment with the 15 guests who came (though, I guess one was tiny and didn't take up much space!). It was great to meet Jacob's daughter finally! Adorable!



Jacobandcharlotte_4 Unfortunately, as she does not yet have teeth, little Charlotte couldn't help us eat the bounty of food we had. I made two savory dishes with Pilsbury Crescents--reuben crescent wraps (I believe the original name for them was "Crusty Reuben Bites.") and the same thing as a veggie version with Roasted Red Peppers, Goat Cheese, and Fontina Cheese.


I went a little baked good crazy the day before. I made some great molasses cookies (from Cooking Light--see here for the recipe), pizzelles, sugar cutout cookies, and scones (from a mix) while watching the Steelers devastating loss to Jacksonville. Everyone had sweets on the brain, because we had SO many baked goods that people brought, all DEEEElicious.


Table


Believe it or not, this table is AFTER most people have eaten!


P1060005_5 It was great to have everyone over for one last hurrah, especially before taking down the Christmas decorations. I was thinking maybe next time (because I want there to be a next time) I may do an open house, because while I LOVE having all my friends over, I could fit even more if they were spaced out. Maybe I should give timed tickets, like a museum! LOL.


The Christmas decorations are now down, and my apartment's feeling empty and non-festive. Fortunately, I have a lot of "projects" planned to keep my mind off of it! Here's one last wreath...


Wreath